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Chapter 2: The Way of the Discriminative Logic

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Life is a dream
Staff member
(In this chapter Lord Krishna tries to clear the fuddled mind of Arjuna using discriminative logic. He tells him that he is not killing anything, because the soul cannot be killed. After establishing this he tells him, that he can command (order about) only his own actions but is helpless in getting the results that he desires.)

Sanjaya told:-

To him who is completely weakened by compassion,
Who was with eyes filled with copious tears?
And who was imprisoned by worries,
Lord Sri Krishna, the killer of Madhu, told thus.

The Lord told:-

Oh Arjuna who is faced with a dangerous situation.
How come this inglorious thought came in to you?
Which is ungentlemanly, which bars your way heaven,
And which would become a blot to your fame.

Oh Arjuna, do not go in this path of thought which is fit to the unmanly,
And cast away this minor weakness of mind and raise up to fight.

Arjuna told:-

Oh killer of Madhu, who is fit for worship,
How can I kill Bheeshma and Drona,
Who are fit to be worshipped by me,
By shooting several arrows at them.

It would rather give fame to eat alms got as charity,
Than to kill such teachers who are very great people,
For I would be forced to enjoy the pleasures,
Which are soaked in the blood of these great ones?

I do not know whether it is better for us to win over the enemy,
Or the enemies to attain a victory over us , but I know,
That against me are arraigned the sons of Drutharashtra,
By killing whom, I will not have any wish to live further.

My conduct has lost its sharpness due to ignorance,
And due to that I am not able to know, what my rightful action is,
And so please tell me which path would lead to me to fame,
For I am your student and have surrendered to you.

Even if I get a country with no enemies, and one with riches,
Or even if I get the kingship of the great heaven,
I do not see any way that would drive away,
My blasting sorrow which wilts my sense organs.
Sanjaya told:-

Arjuna who can kill his enemies,
Told Lord Krishna who is beyond meditation?
That he would not participate in the war,
And simply sat there, in a continued silence.

Oh Drutharashtra, the king of entire India.
Then Sri Krishna smilingly told as follows to Arjuna,
Who sat grieving in the middle of the two armies?

The Lord told:-

You are sorrowing for those who do not merit such sorrow,
And also talking and arguing like a very learned man,
In spite of the fact that wise men do not sorrow,
Over people who are alive or those people who are no more.

There was never a time, when I was not there,
There was no time when you or these kings were not there,
And in future also there will be never a time,
When we both and these kings will not be there.

Clearly understanding the fact that,
All individuals with this body, will attain,
States of childhood, youth and old age,
And after death the soul will reach another body.
Brave (learned?) men never get worried..

Oh Arjuna, we are able to feel the heat or cold,
Or pass through the state of joy and sorrow,
Due the interaction of sense organs with these feelings,
Oh Bharatha, learn to tolerate and understand them,
As they are unstable and appear and then vanish.

Oh king among men, that wise man,
Who is not affected by these feelings?
Who considers pain and pleasure alike?
Would become suitable for immortality.

Philosophers and wise men know that,
“That which is not there, does not exist,
For it would never start to exist,
And that which is there would,
Never cease to exist and be forever.”

Please know that, that which fills all this
Universe is the one that never dies,
And that never undergoes change,
And none can cause destruction to it.

You start fighting in this battle, Arjuna,
For the soul*, which is perennial and stable,
Is beyond destruction and beyond proper understanding,
And is said to occupy this very perishable body.

*I am using the English word ‘soul’ for ‘Athma.’
Some authors use the word “embodied self”

He who thinks that he is killing this soul,
And he who considers that the soul has died,
Are both ignorant, for this soul?
Can kill nobody, nor anybody can kill it.

This soul is never born nor ever dies,
It never comes to existence and later vanishes,
And this soul which is permanent, perennial and old,
Never dies when the body dies.

Hey Arjuna, how can he who knows this soul as,
That which cannot be wounded, perennial and never ever is born,
Ever kill someone or get someone else killed.

Like a man leaving out old worn out cloths,
And start wearing new cloths when necessary,
This soul leaves the body which becomes useless,
And moves on to newer bodies.

This soul cannot be hurt by arrows,
It can never be burnt by fire,
It can never be made wet,
And it can never be dried by any wind.

This soul can never be cut not burnt,
It can never be made wet nor dried,
This is perennial, goes everywhere,
And is stable, immobile and ancient.

This soul can never be seen, is beyond thought,
Beyond actions and the one which cannot be separated,
And once you realize this perennial truth,
You do not have the right to sorrow for it.

Oh great warrior, If you are under the impression,
That this soul is one which is daily born and dying daily,
Even then, you do not have the right to sorrow for it.

For all that is born, certainly dies,
And all that dies is born again,
And so ,on a matter which cannot be corrected,
You do not have the right to sorrow.

What is the point in showing sorrow?
For that which was unclear before birth?
Clear in the central period of time,
And again becoming unclear after death?

Some view it with awe,
others talk about it with awe,
Some others hear about it with awe,
But there is none among them,
Who clearly knows anything about it.

This soul which daily lives inside the body,
Can never be killed at anytime, Arjuna,
So you do not have to sorrow about.
The death of any being in this world.

Even viewing it from the aspect,
Of just action* as applicable to you,
You need not have to worry about it,
Because for one belonging to the kingly race,
There is nothing which brings more fame than war.

* I am using the phrase ‘just action’ instead of Dharma,
Fully realizing that the word Dharma has much bigger connotation.

This war which came in an accidental fashion,
Actually keeps the doors of heaven open,
And is available only to those lucky of the kingly clan,
Who participate whole heartedly in this war.

If you are not going to fight,
This war as per the holy tenets,
Then your fame and dharma would die,
And you would be engulfed in sin.

Instead of talking about your fame,
All beings would talk about your ill fame,
And such talk of ill fame is,
Worse than the state of death.

All great heroes would think,
That you have ran away from the war out of fear,
And all of them having good opinion about you,
Will think of you in a much debased manner.

Your enemies would berate your heroism,
And start talking words which should not be uttered,
And what is there more sorrowful than hearing those words?

Oh Arjuna, if you are killed in this war,
Certainly you will reach heaven,
And if you are victorious you will,
Taste the kingship of a kingdom,
And so get up and start fighting.

Get engaged in this war,
Keeping pain and pleasure equally,
And loss and profit equally,
And then only you will not,
Suffer the results of sin.

I was till now talking to you about,
The discriminative system of philosophy,
And now I am going to talk to you,
About the path of action, knowing which.
You can get freed from the ties of duties.

There is no waste of efforts in this,
And contra effects will never result,
Even a slight practice of this type of action,
Protects you from greatest fears known.

Hey son of Kuru clan, there is only one,
Type of this wisdom which is fixed in goal,
But the brains of those who are wavering,,
Have no definite goal and travels in many ways.

Oh Arjuna, these ignorant men,
Find pleasure in the flowery words of Veda*,
And will ever argue with pride,
That there is nothing greater.

*Reference is made here to the Karma Kanda of Vedas,
Which prescribe specific rites for specific fruits?

They will tell you , those actions,
Results of actions and repeated births,
Are meant for experiencing joy,
And they would drown themselves in desires.

They will tell you words which are similar,
To the fruit less flowering tree,
And since they travel behind desires,
Will not have time for any meditation*.

* The word Samadhi indicates a state of oneness of mind
Through meditation.
This sloka could also mean:-

These people attached to enjoyment and position,
Are without wisdom and would never get,
In their mind stable thoughts and directions.

Oh Arjuna, Vedas deal with the three aspects of action,
But you have to become one above, the three states of action,
Win over the plurality of thoughts and have a mind,
Not wandering behind earning and upkeep of wealth
Become happy in yourself and enjoy the bliss of the soul.

To the wise man, Vedas are only as useful,
As the little spools of water which are contained,
In the limitless water which is filled everywhere.

You have only ownership of your actions*,
But you do not have anything to do with what results,
So please do not do any action with,
Interest in the results but please,
Forever never decide on doing no action.

*The word used here is Karma. It could mean
Duty/action, the load of previous actions on you and so on.

Oh Arjuna, when done bereft of any attachment,
With equal emphasis given to gains and losses,.
If you are able to perform actions,
Then it is called the state of ‘yoga*’
*Discipline of the soul

Oh Arjuna, action laced with wisdom,
But not attached to the results of such action,
Is far above action done with desire to its fruits,
And so take recourse to such an action,
For those who desire for results from actions are miserable.

He who is wise leaves out of this life,
Actions which are good and those which are bad,
And so make attempts for attaining such a state of yoga,
For yoga indicates skill in doing duties.

The learned one, who is wise, leaves out the fruits of actions,
Cuts off the ties imposed by birth and death,
And they certainly reach the state of no sorrow.

Oh Arjuna, When your wisdom crosses
The confused knowledge of illusion,
That the body that we see is really the soul,
You would start going away from the knowledge,
Which you know and are going to know.

When your wisdom which is tossed here and there,
Hearing the multi wisdom of the Vedic words,
Becomes stable in the knowledge of the soul,
Then you would reach the stage of perennial yoga.

Arjuna asks:-

What are the properties of the stable minded*,
Who is in the state of pure meditation, Oh Kesava,
What does he talk and converse about?
Does he sit and walks like other men?

*Word used is ‘Sthitha Pragna’ which can be translated as “men of steady wisdom” also.

The God answered:-

The stable minded is the one, who has,
Forsaken all desires and fluttering of the mind, Oh Arjuna,
And becomes contended and happy,
With his soul seeking pleasure only from the soul.

He would not get worried because of sorrows,
Would never get happiness from pleasures,
Would not have fear, anger and avarice,
And would be called the sage who is stable.

The one who is not attached to everything that he sees,
And reaching the state bereft of good or bad,
Without loving or hating such states,
Is the one who is called the stable minded?
Like a turtle withdrawing all his
Limbs from all sides in to his shell,
When one is able to withdraw in to himself,
His sense organs from the sensual pleasures,
His wisdom is that which is stable.

The pull of the sense organs go away
From one who lives without any food?
But in him, the desire for such pleasures remains,
Till he sees and attains the divine state

Oh Son of Kunthi, Is it not true that even in a,
Man who is wise, trying to control his senses
The sense organs, which are tumultuous,
Pull his mind, with force in to some other way.

The man with a stable mind controls,
All the sense organs properly,
And considers me as the supreme,
And would live with peace.

He who thinks constantly of a thing,
Develops attachment to such a thing,
And from such an attachment desire develops,
And from desire is born the anger.

From anger is born the great illusion,
The great illusion leads to bewilderment,,
This leads to destruction of wisdom,
Which in turn leads to the total destruction.

But he who does not have likes or dislikes,
Who enjoys everything using the senses.
Which are under his full control.
And who follows freedom with restraint,
Attains the state of clear headedness.

This clear headedness brings to an end,
All the sorrows that he ever has,
And due to this, he within a short time,
Is able to establish his stable wisdom.

He who does not attain the state,
Of stable wisdom, does not have,
Capability to take correct decisions,
Nor does he have thought of the ultimate,
And he who does not think of the ultimate,
Does not ever have peace of mind,
And how can pleasure, ever come to him?

This is because the mind which follows,
The ever wavering pull of senses,
Would also drive his mind,
Like the wind driving a boat.

So, oh great hero, he whose senses,
Completely control their hankering,
Is the one who is steadily intelligent?

The sage who has complete control of his mind,
Is awake during the night of all beings,
When their mind is dark with ignorance;
And that time when all beings are awake,
Is the night for the sage who sees the truth?

Similar to the rivers traveling and merging,
In to the ocean which is always full and stable,
He in who desires merge within him,
Is the one who attains peace and,
The one who chases desires is not peaceful.

He who forsakes all desires,
And remains without any attachment,
Without thinking of “Me “and “mine”,
Reaches the state of peace.

Oh Arjuna, this is the state of union with the divine,
Anyone who reaches this will not drown in desires,
He would stand steadfastly till the end of his life,
And would attain the salvation, merging with the divine.

Thus ends the second chapter of Bhagawad Gita,
Which is the essence of all Upanishads,
Which is the science of the eternal and yoga,
And the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna,
Which is called “The way of the discriminative logic?”
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